So, you want to make animation? Animation isn't too hard too make, once you know how. In here, we will show you the general step to produce a simple classical animation. Once you are through, you will be able to make your first successful step to being an animator.
Create a storyboard
The first step of animation is to make a storyboard. A story board consists of pages of thumb nails that shows the major scenes in an animation. In the course of the animation, this story board will serve as a script to the director. For starters, try to make a simple storyboard with a simple story line. It may not need to be complicated to be catch the viewer's attention. You can add in captions or any other text to explain the ongoing scenes.
The second step is to make the keyframes. A key frame is a frame that has an actual picture of a character in the animation, it either shows where the object starts and ends in a scene, or it show the important scenes where certain actions or features are captured.
For starters pick a body part on a piece of paper and trace a line from where it starts and finish. Then, make little marks on the line, to tell yourself where that body part will be in the consequent scenes.
Timing is ver important in an animation. An slight inaccuracy in timing will tend to result in a very big and obvious mistake in the outcome of the animation. Therefore, making everything work and to have the desired effect that you want is very hard and tedious joy. If possible, try not to acheive what you want by trial and error. Plan everything that you want first and foremost, then work on your plan until you are very sure you have planned everything possible before you proceed.
Next, find out if there are any parts of the figure that won't change in shape, just in position. If there are, it's you're lucky day. That means you can draw it on a separate sheet of paper, place it under what you're drawing on, on the light table, and position it so it's in the right place. Try to make full use of your keyframes. Just trace the figure on to the cell once it is positioned correctly.
Nowadays, professional use xeroxing to do the copying, but for begginers and simple animation, copying will be fine.
If the figure does change shape, take a separate piece of paper, and make another key frame for the shape, this time the position is not important. Once you've done this, position the shape with the key frame correctly, under the cell with the actual frame. Repeat this for all of the cells, until you have the figure in slightly different from the one before. Try to keep a habit of numbering the cells at the bottom of the paper, so you can keep them in order, all this little habits will help alot when you turn into a full blown animator and have to keep track of thousands of sheets.
After that, you need to give you animation color. On the clear cells, there's the side you drew on and there's the back. On the back, paint in the colors for the figure, but do not paint the background at this point. This not only has an advantage of not smudging any paints when working with the cell; if you take the effort to try it out, you will find the effect of colouring from the back gives the character or object a more substantial look. It also reduces errors of painting over your outlines. On separate cells, paint the background without the object, so that you can reuse the background again and again to reduce extra work. When all of this is done, you are ready to shoot it.
Shooting is the process of taking lots of cells you've drawn and making the into frames you can work with. When doing this, put the background on bottom, then the middleground, and foreground. Take a picture of it, then set up for the next cell. For digital cameras, the camera should be connected to a computer, to facilitate the storing of each individual frame.
Of course, you can try out with the traditional cameras designed for stop-motion animation where two frames is taken on each shot.
The last step is to put all of the separate pictures into a program that will animate them, one example is by using Premier. Any other movie making programs might just work out the same. Put all of the frames in order, and see what your production looks like. You'd be amazed!
View a short clip of home made animation.
Contributed by Art Club of Victoria Junior College.
There are four major parts to make an animation:
Development of ideas and story
First of all, there must be an idea to base the animation on. When an idea is developed, the characters and stories are further explored and expanded upon. This means the chracteristics of each character and details of the story to make it worth the budget it is using!
The directors of an animation would then come out with a script; and later a storyboard where thumbnails of major scenes are sketched with captions to elaborate on it.
The soundtracks used in the animation are also created at this point of time. This stage is the most important stage of creating a successful animation, because it is here where all the timing and plot of the story is created. With an impeccable timing, you can be surprised how much better the animation is presented, and it also shows the standard of the animation tremendously.
Sketching and Drawings
In the second stage, a chief animator would draw out the keyframes of the animation. Keyframes are significant scenes in the story that shows the essential actions that lead to the development of the story, so that the assistants or junior animators can use it as a base and fill in the scenes in between so that motions would flow smoothly. This process done by junior animators is commonly known as inbetweening or tweening.
Most of the time, there will be the main animators who take cares of the different characters, and the special effect animators will take care of the non character-based frames, from background to shadows to happenings. The pictures will be taken through a pencil test, where the drawings are animated without any frills. Only then it is inked and coloured on. Finally the different sheets of cels will now be cleaned and polished in preparation for screening.
Putting it all together
The third stage is where all the cels and pieces of art are compiled together and screened. There are different ways of screening the animation, one is by using a camera and screen the fast flipping of pages, while another is by scanning the different pages and then put them together to form the movie. These modern day, it is more practical to use the latter method.
At this stage the sound and music of the animation is also recorded to match the pictures perfectly. The timing and accuracy of sound and music is very important, as it determines whether the animation will capture the audience's attention or loose it completely. The stitching together of the music and pictures requires much skills and a certain talent to make it work.
Finally, the film is now edited carefully and final touches are made to make sure it has the maximum effect. Editing a film is usually an elaborate process that involves the coming together of different minds and oppinions of the directos. They will decide on how to cut short the film to fit into the required length of movie. As well as decide which part will prove to be useful and which parts would be better without.
After all the hard work and struggling, now, the seemingly short film is ready to be viewed by the world!
One of the questions any initiate into animation would ask: why use story boards? Why not just use scripts as they do in movies? One of the main reasons is that the main concern with animation is the story and sequence of images itself. By using a storyboard, it reduces the dialogue and tell the story through the actions itself. In this way the story is presented more directly and efficiently.
Here is an interesting point to consider, the movie, Jurassic Park also made use story boards, this is understandable since most of movie makes use computer animated graphic as special effects.
Essentials of storyboard
When plotting a storyboard, we must first be sure what story we want to tell, what do we want to present to the audience? In what way can we hold the audience's attention? Other than that, we must also ensure that our story has a starting as well as an ending, otherwise, it will be a story without an aim. And since we are dealing with animation, the timing of the story also holds a very important part when we plan our storyboard.
A storyboard holds all the important scenes, we do not need to draw out every single action of the story. We can make use of short notes to describe how the story is to proceeds or describe the background.
We can also consider using a separate script for the dialogue and sound effect instead of squeezing everything into the storyboard. We must keep in mind that a storyboard is for our own convenience, it is in no way suppose to restrict our work.
Of course, other than the storyboard, there are many other point we can consider while making an animation. All these is possible to be learned through experience. You don't need to be an expert to come out with an interesting animation.
Tips for an interesting story
When we plan our story, we must first consider what story we want to tell,
and what is in the story that will hold the audience's attention. We must
always keep in mind that keeping the audience in front of the show is always
our first target.
We must also consider how we want to start or end a story, since these are the moments that will make the most impression on our audience. As I stress once again, when we plan our storyboard, we must always take note of the timing.
A few tips of making an effective animation is keep track of the suspense
in the story. Even the simplest actions can keep the viewer in anticipation.
Another is to make use of squashing and stretching of the elements in your
animation. Keep in mind that this is a cartoon that you are creating, you
can do whatever you want with it!
Use as much exaggeration as possible! We should not rely on subtlety in an animation. Instead do as much as you can to put your point across, that means big and outrageous movements.
In an animation, you may want to hint to the audience where they should pay attention to, therefore, we should minimize as much secondary actions as possible.
That's about the major points we should take note when we plan our animation. If you keep in mind these advice, I'm sure you animation will turn out to be a big success!
Animation is truly an amazing art form that is now gathering attention from people around the world, and therefore gaining much importance now than ever; but few people actually know how an animation film came about. Creating an animation sometimes could be as tedious and complicated as creating a full-length movie, at times even more.
The following few pages deals with the processes of coming out with an animation. As well as the effort and hardwork put in to produce with even the most simple animations.
There are also a few tips included to produce a better animation.